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The Perfect Dating App
The story of how the Eventful app came to be
A good friend of mine, let's call him Dave, used to use dating apps exclusively. I say used to use because even after dozens of different dates, he couldn't find a good match. So he (rightfully) abandoned the apps. Sometimes the current girlfriend back then would join us on outings, and as they changed, I noticed something peculiar -- they all looked like the same person to me.
It seems that the intersection of women that Dave fancies and that are likely to use a dating app results in a rather uniform "type" of woman. No wonder he couldn't find anyone even after many many dates -- they were all similar enough that the limiting factors repeated.
While this conclusion may mostly be my imagination, it made me think. Not everyone uses dating apps. Say Dave has 100 ideal matches in his geographic vicinity. If none of them uses a dating app, and had Dave continued using it exclusively, he would have never found a successful match. I call this "The Mismatch Problem".
Inherent Problems of Dating Apps
Dating apps have many problems, though. Terrible male/female message ratios, inaccurate profiles, accurate profiles1, fake profiles (by users or admins), and using messaging, instead of in-person conversation are just some. I have used most existing apps extensively, trying to find one that solves them, or at least figure out how to do it myself. I tried abusing the apps to see if they catch me, and figure out what could be changed to fix some of the problems. To a certain extent, it was a success. Most of these problems are fixable in the context of dating apps as you know them. However, they not going to get any better.
Dating apps, in their current form, have a conflict of interest. In order to make more money, they must make it so people continue to use them as much as possible, spending a lot of money in the process. This means always keeping them "close enough" to a true match, but never quite there. Of course, this can't be done to the extreme or no one would use the app. Product managers for the big dating apps are very good at this balancing act.
Now you could say a new app can disrupt this. Those many problems are not unsolvable. Maybe it'll even be a non-profit, avoiding the misaligned incentives. Unfortunately, that is extremely difficult and the process is counterproductive, because of one large hurdle: network effect. Conventional dating apps rely on it to function, and it causes nothing but trouble for new ones, which face a severe chicken-and-egg problem.
But even if all of these were magically solved, one problem still remains: The Mismatch Problem. No matter how you go about it, no matter what you fix, people who don't use dating apps still aren't going to use dating apps, and if their ideal matches use them exclusively, those people are not likely to ever meet.
The Mismatch Problem is inherent to dating apps, caused by an app's mere existence.
Witchcraft and Wizardry
Luckily, I have a solution. If the problem is inherent to dating apps, then an app that solves it must not be one. It is that simple.
Let's go back to Dave and his 100 ideal matches. Ideally, I would like to be a wizard and cast a spell that’ll make him bump into them as often as possible. In the street, in the supermarket, in the movies and in the bank. Enough bumping and one of the ideal matches will work out. I spent quite a bit of time thinking how to code that theoretical piece of magic into an app. First, we need to understand selective transitivity.
A transitive relation is one that if A and B have it, and B and C have it, then A and C also have it. > (greater than) is transitive. If A > B and B > C then A > C.
Selective transitivity -- which I made up, no need to ask ChatGPT -- is best explained by an example. Friendship is not transitive. If Dave is Josh’s friend, and Josh is Abe’s friend, Dave and Abe wouldn't necessarily be good friends. Friendship is, however, selectively transitive. If Dave is a friend of Josh, Josh has good odds of selecting a friend Dave would like.
This is how Eventful was born. Eventful aspires to be the perfect dating app, and to do that, it must not be one.
For any non-private event organized via Eventful, the invitees can also invite, Allowing the host to set the type of event and reach different levels of intimacy and variety. Eventful uses the power of selective transitivity to help people who’ll like each other to be in the right place at the right time.
It does that while avoiding all of the problems dating apps have.
There’s no chicken and egg problem — you can organize an event even if you’re the only user of the app.
There aren’t any classic dating apps problems like chat ratios or bad profiles, because it isn’t a dating app. Also no misaligned incentives — Eventful wants you to enjoy events long after you’ve met your second half. It can also be used to meet people for non-romantic relationships, like new friends or people who enjoy similar hobbies.
Most importantly, of course, it solves The Mismatch Problem. Eventful can match two people without either of them ever installing the app.
With Eventful, two people are in the right place at the right time.
The Secret Sauce
As The Powerpuff Girls taught us, sugar, spice, and everything nice is not enough. Some Chemical X is also needed. This is why this blog post is not enough to fully understand how Eventful works, as Eventful uses a special kind of Chemical X.
Nevertheless, you did get quite a large glimpse of it and how it got there, which I hope you found interesting.
Next time you're looking to meet a new special someone, a new friend, or just have a good time, make it Eventful.
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How easy it is to swipe left logically, when in-person chemistry would have told otherwise.